Nupur Arora is as vibrant as the delectable dishes she serves up from her kitchen in Queens, NY where she has lived for a couple of decades. She is gregarious, full of incredibly entertaining and funny stories, and a woman of many talents. She is the kind of person who lights up the room she enters. On our recent visit she cooked up this incredible lamb stew and served it with fragrant rice that made us swoon. Here is Nupur's recipe served up with a tale, in her own words:
MEMSAHIB’S COLONIAL LAMB STEW
A slow-simmered, aromatic stew of bone-in lamb, potatoes and carrots
In the days of the British rule or “Raj” in India, the officer’s wives would personally oversee the making of food in their kitchens in an effort to teach the local cooks the intricacies of British cooking. The cooks however, were, steeped in tradition and all too fond of their spice boxes! Despite early reluctance of the “Memsahibs” or madams to embrace the flavor and spices of Indian cuisine, the Indian cooks were able to floor them with beautiful fusion flavors that came to be known as Anglo-Indian cuisine. This cuisine was both “Anglo”-chicken, lamb, beef, pork, quail and duck etc. meats were used and “Indian”-because it was not overwhelmingly hot or spicy.
Garlic, butter, cloves, cinnamon, pepper corns etc. were used to enhance the flavors of the meats and delicate curries were created by merging regional favorites combined with the eagerness to please the memsahib’s palette.
1.5 lbs. Bone-in lamb, cut into medium size pieces
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely diced
3 potatoes, whole or halved, if large
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 4” pieces
1 bay leaf
2” piece of cinnamon
1 tsp Paprika
½ tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
5 to 6 pepper corns coarsely ground
5 tbsp. Ghee/ clarified butter
Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Add the finely chopped onions and sauté. Also add the cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and garlic. Sauté the onions till golden brown and aromatic. Add finely chopped tomatoes and salt. Sauté this till the tomatoes reach a paste like consistency.
Now add the turmeric, coriander powder, paprika and bay leaf. Also add the potatoes and carrot pieces. Sauté till oil separates from the onion tomato blend.
Add lamb pieces and salt and sauté for a few seconds. When the lamb changes color, add 5 cups of water and adjust the seasoning.
Cover and cook on medium heat for 1 hour or till lamb is tender and potatoes are fully cooked.
Reduce the flame to low for the last 5 minutes before serving.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with fragrant Baasmati rice.
Enjoy and swoon! You're welcome!
By Nupur Arora*
To explore the history of amalgamated Indian cuisine, we recommend Lizzie Collinghams's Book titled Curry: a tale of cooks and conquerors.
*Nupur Arora is also the Director of Product Development for Global Shokunin.